Saturday, November 26, 2005

Festive Season - Hermitage Publications

Travellers!! If anyone has anything they would like to add to the Hermitage Publications Peddler's Cart for show, buy or trade most welcome, please email the details to me.

The plan is to get a Christmas spirit going and trading is fun!

Hermitage Publications - Imogen Crest (link takes you there>>>)

Just Musing

Found Miracle

What indeed is the greater miracle?
To lay my hands on a stricken child
and breathe Light and dream’s melody
to blend with tortured spirit now content?

Or allow an aging man to release
his sorrowed grief into my midwife arms,
and walk ever on with a lighter step?

Or that another trusts and loves enough
to tell me my presence surely helped,
even when they perceived nothing at all,
but then find they have cured themselves,
for fear of disappointing my quiet heart?

Or that a girl laughs at my whistled joy,
and grows to skip around adversity,
and never becomes sad or ill at all?

Thankfully I will not be called to choose,
for these found things make up my gifted day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

dark gardens

Saturday, November 19, 2005

On the stump again

The storyteller is on the stump --
regaling passers-bye with wit and song.
The came this ...


One does nor command a wizard, of course -- not even a prince; but faint hope can create a ripple in the Current, that he would know and come.

"By proclamation this day remembered,
By the hand and benevolence of his Majesty,
Prince Ranjold, a celebration will greet
The birth of their daughter, Lengine.
Gifts by rank will be honored
And remembered in thrine."

All was right and proper by custom and joy -- after all, what was nobility for but to give excuse for holiday and amusement? It had been so when Ranjold had been born -- celebration and gifts; most by command -- some by plotted aspiration. All were gone now, forgotten, possibly abused -- the giver and the gifts. Only one singular gift remained -- nestled in a silk-lined box of gold filigree. Anuur had come that day twenty and four years past -- unbidden, scarcely expected. Amongst the piled treasures of homage and less he placed the twig of a broken branch -- grey, sharp, barren. No one dare speak or question -- even the scowling Queen, for all knew that flowers grew where Anuur passed and lightning praised his name. It was know that the wizard was alive. Would he come?

The child prince had never questioned the twig suspended from the cradle bow, nor why he later carried it within a pouch around his neck. It was called the "Thorn of Anuur" and it was enough. Thence, when Ranjold was fourteen the dreams came -- and he knew. He alone understood. He had been gifted life!

The branch jutted out into the road 'round a curve unseen -- tree long dead, roots uptorn by wind and flood. No matter. As the farmer passed by with labored cart of market goods and hopes for home and kin, the protruding grey finger snagged a sack of seeds. The tear was not great, nor the golden trail of grain but a scattered hint of fortune. It was enough. Had there been clouds in the sky they might have chuckled. Had it rained the farmer might have covered his load. Had it snowed he could have come another day. No matter.

At weighing time the farmer was dismayed to receive less in coin than required to purchase the new plow so needed for the spring. So he had to sell his favorite horse, also admired by his faire betrothed Anne. With smaller plow and lesser steed he returned to eventual loss of both land and bride. Such events were common to the time and place. No matter.

The farmer's horse was claimed by a young merchant and later a minor knight. Thus bolstered by apparent elevated in station and with a purse of wagers won the knight traveled far and wide. Eventually he became a captain in an attacking force that sieged the town. Such events were common to the time and place. No matter.

A hapless crow spied the trail of seed strewn about the road. He fed, and by some magick song called others of his kind. They found the spot to their liking and stayed a bit -- harassing travelers and creating an endless din. A wandering monk retreated and took another route, delaying in kind a wedding feast. With nothing to do save drink and quarrel the distressed quests destroyed the inn in which they met. The dowry sadly went for repairs and the groom had to quit his studies at the university. His dream of scribing a journal of popular medicine for home and hearth lay forever in the pile of broken dishes and maiden tears. No matter. Such events were common.

These dreams continued in many form and pattern -- rippling outward from a torn sack to shattered lives and endless grief. Life is not faire to be sure -- but who would ever know? One man did, and in passing the branch, returned a pace or two. Even he could not see the future, yet he knew the purport of the sharpened spine. Anuur broke it off -- simply that and nothing more. Later he chanced upon a celebration, and though not required, he left this smallish gift. Faith? Fortune? Magick? No matter.

When the Prince took reign from his ailing father he kept the twig close at hand. He listened closely to advisors and crones, educators and niggling relatives, but … Before he spoke a word of command or privilege, he always paused and pondered, "What joy will I bring this day? What chance remark or idle boast or thoughtless deed will harm another -- perhaps unseen? Where will fall the seeds of my thoughts?" The kingdom was peaceful and the people kind and bountiful. This was often so in that place and time.

The Prince wished that he could call upon Anuur -- command his presence and another gift, that his daughter might be so blessed -- but love commanded engenders only fear. So he tied the withered branch above the child's head -- and waited. Could life recycle by desire alone? Would the wizard come? No matter.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Silky Oak Divinations

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We have set up the divination tent beside the Silky Oak and visitors can go inside the Oak, with the Silky Oak Spirit and have a mystery unravelled. Any takers?

Always a poet

I heard a story of awe the other day
and changed it into a poem,
because that is what I do.


Little girl at an easel,
apron too big and stool too tall,
painting what she sees and feels --
just like the teacher asked.

All around is diligence,
kids drawing pets, kids having fun,
painting what they see and know --
limited by time and space.

"What are you drawing here?"
queried the teacher stern and grey,
seeing no shapes or patterns
of normal childhood.

"I am painting God's face,"
chimed the girl of bright laughing eyes,
with strokes of innocence
and a child's mirth.

"But no one knows of that!"
distained the teacher dogma bound,
with sense of awe withered
by a spinster's choosing.

"They will when I am though!"
pronounced the child from knowing,
as perhaps we would right now
if not for growing old.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bottles Again


There are bottles now aplenty
in the cobweb corners of order --
some bold labled plainly for review;
others piled in random distain.

'Bottles of Djin, I fondly call them --
some with contents you might recognize,
if I let them out -- 'er dusted them
and sipped the heady potion again.

The secret to life's sought balance
is perhaps found lurking here abouts --
but I still don't know for sure, my friend,
whether to put Djin in, or let it out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

gift of the sea


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Preparing for Christmas

These are a few Christmas Cards that I have brought to the market today.

Sunday Market

Sunday Market
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Secretary is on her way to the Sunday market as she wants to replace the wings for her tiny donkey. Her first set has been worn out in the long distance flight to the Farthest North. She has a basket of very nice blankets for sale, much like the one she is using here.

Gypsy Camp stamps for trade

Gypsy Camp First Day covers are still up for trade. I have had some beautiful trades already from some of the brilliant artists here. If anyone would like to trade art for a first day cover with four Gypsyt Camp stamps, just contact Gail.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Heather's Bottles

Bottles of Djin

I had been mentored long ago,
to forget past fears and regrets,
"put them behind you, and move on."

and this I believed and give it a whirl,
and learned of PTSD and forlorn grief,
sinister shadows and cold, hard stones.

Then came a knowing, blessed relief --
that I am today what I have been,
and I saved those memories in boxes,
ordered on careful dusted shelves,
to be retrieved by controlled will,
and cherished.

Today I gained some mirthful wisdom --
to use jars instead of hiding boxes,
and thereby gain an easier,
possibly more enchanting view,
of distortions made clear,
and sharp edged demons
contorted soft and lonely.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't Drink Koschey's Punch

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For goodness sake keep the lid on Pandora's Box. Too many people have been drinking Koschey's Party Punch and we all know what untold misery that has generated. We need to make sure 'hope' stays safe.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Muse of the Sea - Open Garden

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Take a moment from your journey and slip into my garden by the sea.

Old Photos Found

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A trunk filled with old photos of the Duwamish Marina, and its regular side shows, have emerged. These two photographs are a part of a collection that will be shown in Duwamish in the near future.
Collection by Heather Blakey

Hidden Meaning

There are those who search for hidden meaning
in scripture, poems and people's lives. I thought I'd
give it a try and have kept a list of
'codewords' required to let me on several blogs.
Some resemble the name of the gremlin who
used to live under my bed -- others the list of tabs
on the doll house I attempted to construct.

anyway ....

Pray sgjlkdy qkstyprkl,
jjlkszbn and tytyrhzms --
wqytsddplj ne crdyzxlbd,
for thee must ever fgklrtyp.

So there!


Beau ty is in the eye of the beholder Posted by Picasa

Carousel Memories

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Today I spent hours sitting with Darryl in the Oncology day ward as they dripped chemotherapy into his veins. As I sat I drew and we remembered the days when we were young and went to Luna Park together. The Carousel bought back memories of carefree days, of the giggle palace, mirror maze, river boat ride and old ghost train. These days we ride a far different carousel and wonder when the ride will end.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


On hearing that talent was in short supply,
and that free performance acts were unheard of
I decided to ask some friends of mine
If by chance they would like to sing in a market place
On an island in the Umbrian Mountains.
No sooner had I mentioned Umbrian then all hell broke loose
22 women and a few men all dressed in black slacks and red tops
descended on my doorstep.
Red bows in the females hair,red shoes on dainty feet,red earings on the ears of young blonde faces ..(The blokes are pretty convential).
Ok ok ok I said to we travel light
A back-pack a few bits and pieces and your red folders and music.
We would set off on the Sunday evening....
But firstly I had to arrange with the Donkey Union Sec for some
travel arrangements....This done ,"No trouble Fran they call her".
Don't ask about the donkeys I said to the choir as they opened their mouths to speak....just get on ......don't don't need to leave 20 or more donkeys on your front porch for too long.
You must be firm with choirs, as they tend to all babble at once
Highly strung as my Mother would call them, like actors.
The journey was without mishap ,a warm night a clear sky ,starry heavens and a full moon...what more could we want.
We arrived to a crowd gathered at the entrance gate to the Market Place to be greeted by many familiar faces
Coridal ,tea and water was offered and some nice home baked cookies and cake...Some for us some for the donkeys.
We formed a 1/2 circle under the tall bay trees in a shady people kept coming in and rustling chairs and stools and bales of hay to sit on the noise was of a very high level....
Maryanne ...The Choirmistress.....Lifted her baton to the crowd
and asked if the noise level could be lowered
Maryanne is tall,statuesque and very professional in her conducting ,
as well as being beautiful......
She knows well these mountains as she has sung in an Italian Gospel Choir some 12 months ago.
Maryanne plays cello (Not on this Trip) and Jazz piano (Not on this trip) but sings divinly.....ON WITH THE SHOW
We (did I tell you) sing in harmony 2.3.4. part and some solo performences musical instruments at all....just beautiful music straight from the soul,singing for the joy of singing.
Evening rise,spirit come,sun goes down when the day is done
Mother earth awakens me with the heartbeat of the sea
Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooh and so on....

African Lullaby...
THEN Ancient Mother...
Ancient Mother I hear your calling
Ancient mother I hear your song
Ancient Mother I hear your laughter
Ancient Mother I taste your tears
This a chant from Peru celebrating
The Univesal Mother as the Life Giver, creator of all things.
****Followed by...What will we do with the Drunken Sailor with actions and banging of feet on the floor.
Down to the River to Pray.
goes like this.

As I went down to the river to pray studyin about the good ol way
and who shall wear the starry crown,Good Lord show me the way
Then followed by 5 more verses of the above
with Mothers,Daughters,Fathers,Sons etc ...Good fun song.

THE CHOIR then does some solo items
and we sing another 12 or so songs and ask the audience assembled to join in and be a part of the songs they know.

THIS is a huge success because no one is saying.."YOU can't sing if you can't read the music" NOT TRUE says Maryanne ......We sing together because of a love of creating music and being as one ........

Now as I told le Enchanteur,Baba Yaga,The Enchantress and all those thousands who semed to have arrived when they heard the music of the HEARTSONG choir ..."THERE IS NO CHARGE"....
This brought clapping,yelling,whistling and cries of More more more......


A partly true story by Lois (Muse of the Sea) and a member of
the Heartsong Choir 7th Nov 2005.

Life Drawing - Baba Yaga

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA lovely way to spend a Sunday. In partial sun life drawing one of the more interesting subjects I have had of late. She stood with gentle timeless curves deep in thought. Perhaps it was those thoughts that transformed her in my eyes from one drawing to the next. The image was not of one woman but all the women she had been during various parts of her life. Not just the more elderly woman who stands before me here.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI saw in her also the young woman full of promise, not yet worn out by life's obstacles. She was soft and gentle and danced in moonbeams and in front of delighted audiences, the young gypsy dancer. In her own right she was a draw at any box office in the Northern towns where she toured. Not perhaps the first string of dancers, but assuredly the second. She worked hard and was given respect and an income. Who could want more.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usShe had kept on dancing no doubt, past where she was really up to years of one night stands, at times mounting a production all by herself, making her opportunities where they did not just simply present themselves to Baba Yaga. To get a few extra gigs here and there she danced under various names and each of her performing persona took on solo performances. It is a wonder she could even keep her bookings straight. Then I could see slowly life wearing her down. It was no longer about dancing but in surviving what very often were some very unpleasant realities. Still she could muster a straight, strong back to face the next day, and the next.

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At other times of desperation made her so tired she could not even stand up. Life is hard for someone living by heir wits. Talent does not always happily meet up with opportunities to put them to use. That is the very sad thing that by now those days are gone, and the great talent has been betrayed by a body that just simply can no longer keep up with the demands of just talent. Never having reached the stature of "star" performer no allowances would be made to help her earn a living through dance anymore. so she was back, just a gypsy doing gypsy trades, as her mother and grandmother had also done before her.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLife is etched on our faces by the time we are fifty, our bodies are no different. Aside from the lines of time and trouble many women, and Baba among them, have a poetic elegance that though changed by time still is a thing of beauty. I could not help adding this portrait as she sat deep in thought. Not just the sum of her years, but the sum of every emotion, experience and inherited trait. Each of us are precisely so unique not just because of out DNA but the life we live.

Wintra And Summra On The Silk Road

Two of my friends insisted on leaving their home in Duwamish Bay because they're desperately searching for a cure to help a sick friend...this is the first of their adventures over the Silk Road. .

The two women wore a bright yellow dress and stood under a sign, hand painted by the finest painters from the Sideshow back home that read:

" We Buy, Sell and Trade in The Unique and Curious...please inquire within "

Jesse The Cyclops had designed it and his friend Caliban had painted it and the Twins were very proud of it for that reason alone.

" I wish the Benandanti was working here with us...She'd know how to liven things up " Wintra said to her conjoined twin Summra.

" Well, we’re not here to pull any theatrics, we're here to drum up some business for the Curiosity Shop back home. Things haven't been the same since Akela went looking for Livia...Akela’ s poor Mother just doesn't have the heart to run the place proper anymore. So it's up to us to find some inventory until things are back to normal. "

Summra looked up and down the Market Place stalls and she shook her head. " I don't think we're in the right place...Plus I'm not sure this is how you're suppose to stock the shop..."

Just then a woman with an armful of brightly colored fabrics folded neatly and smelling faintly of oranges raced by and then stopped dead in her tracks. The pile of cloth fell to the ground and she pointed a long bony finger at the shrunken head hanging from tents entranceway.

" Is that what I think it is? "

" I don't know, what do you think it is? " Summra asked.

Actually the Twins knew exactly what the woman was thinking, but unless you crossed their palms with silver they'd keep it to themselves.

The woman leaned over grabbed the fabrics and raced away, her face as dark and murderous looking as any vampire or ghoul that the twins had ever seen in their entire lives.

The Twins looked at each other and winced. " We didn't handle that well..." Summra whispered.

They turned to their table of wares and Wintra tapped on the Fiji Mermaids Jar but her eyes remained shut and the Twins knew the little Mermaid didn't like being so far away from home. They didn't either, but the Mermaid would always react to danger and the Twins had never been away from Duwamish Bay in their lives.

She was all they had to watch out for them here.

It surprised Wintra and Summra that no one stopped to ask about the little Mermaid in the jar. She had a wonderful story to tell...Couldn't all these people see that? And look, her little monkey face was sweet and kind. Didn't they see that either?

This Lumurian Archipelago was a strange place. That's what they'd heard...That's why they'd come here.

A little while later an older man walked back and forth in front of their stall before he finally walked in. " Is that a severed head in that jar? "

Summra told him, " No, its a peeled off face. We're willing to trade him for..."

But the man was gone.

" This isn't going well at all Wintra. What on earth are we going to do? If the Curiosity Shop doesn't get stock soon...Its going to die. Isn't it? "

Wintra reached for her Sister's hand and squeezed and they stood there...They stood there all day.


Tellin' on the stump -- Parson Story


Good thing 'bout the Parson (Aunti Bess stopped churnin')
is he don't keep no regular schedule,
soin we don't waste workin' time
getting' ready for a preachin'. (Bess thought 'work' but didn't say it)

Bad thing …

Now Chester just hauled in like
as it was his turn at jumbles,
"Used to like it with Preacher Bob, (stuck his knife inna log)
'cause he would ferget half through
and mixed two sermons together,
ya be rememb'rin?"

nobody talk atall cause Chester
don't take to startin' over, ( I just nod my haid)
seein' how he hardly speaks,
but when he do ya might
plan to sit a spell.

"that way I could pick out the parts
I can follow easy, and ignore the other stuff,
though I guess a regular churcher
Christian wouldn't do it that-a-way."

Now I knew right off that somebody (don't look at me)
was meant to ask the Parson about it,
so I paid special attention to what
ol' Chester meant to say and di'n't. (guess I'm caught)

"Now each preacher has his style, I recon,
of decidin' what to say
fer ta hold our feet to the fire, like.

Now there was that skinny one
used to come the night before
and get his-self invited to a couple of dinners.
Then he listened good all night
and shaped his preachin' and finger shakin'
round some local gossip
out of the barn wrong
with the tellin'." (lot's a head noddin')

At that point we all got up
and stretched afore shiftin'
to a new 'scyth-in-draw' position.
Could be a singlelist man might
sharpen a scythe in 'bout an hour; (ain't never happened)
but seein' howst four of us used it,
we all shared in the task equal like.
One had ta sit on the clampin' boards
fer to keep the blade set true.
Second fella hadta hold the handle
fer fear o'the twistin' danger kick.
Then one man pushed the file down and out
while the guide boy pulled it straight --
seein' that steel was couple foot long
and nicked a bit from droppin'.
Yup -- could take four sweatin'
men best part of a shade afternoon
to do it right --
dependin' on how much cider cold there be.

Ol' Chester din't take a turn, ya know,
since he owned the scythe
and file too. And he was talkin' still,

"other preachers have a message
stuck in their craw,
and try to fit it in right clever,
thinkin' maybe mountain folk
don't know a pump handle
from a soup ladle."

I still haven't figured out
what Chester be wantin' from the Parson,
but it's a while before beans-be-done
when he most likely wander by,
and it be Saturday.

"so that Parson ain't rightly a preacher,
I recon. All he do is tell stories
and ask a couple of questions
that hurt my head a thinkin'."

Then he picked up his whitlin' knife
and I guessed he was through,
so I picked up my thought from afore.

Bad thing 'bout the Parson (Aunti Bess stopped Churnin')
is he don't keep no regular schedule…

Studies in red

These are three spreads I did in Rachel's book entitled "Miss Scarlet goes on her travels"

This is a picture of the doll Miss Scarlet against a background of red oak leaves. The haiku reads:
Red autumn leaves
softly floating down to earth
Drift of memory

This one is called "reaching for red"

this one is called "Lady in red" - the background is made up of the words to Chris de Burgh's song of the same name but the red ink doesn't show up very well in the picture

Shady Oaks - Sunny Market Day

Warm, golden weather at the marketplace,
the Oaks moved in to provide some shade.
Figures mill around Baba's classes, sketching this and that.
The sun sends dappled light over the figures in still life beneath oak leaves....

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Seen and heard during the life class break...

It’s never too late
To put on a red dress
And dance

It’s never too late
To put butterflies in your hair
And dance

It’s never too late
To kick off your shoes
And dance

When I’m 100
I’ll put on `Money for Nothing’
And Dance.

Understanding Baba


There are those who call me a witch outright,
and those who only point and whisper bann.
I am crone to some, and old Mother too,
but to most am simply ‘nether woman’.

There are those who would run me from the road,
and those who turn and pretend not to see.
but maidens come in the dark hush of night,
and lads seek me out ‘neath the forest tree.

For the pulse of young blood sings to me
and I can fine tune the heart strings of love;
for midst hairy warts and snaggled teeth,
is the secret of passion nether trove.

Inside these rags is a comely young girl
the blinded world will lost never care.
My true love died within my splendid arms
though enthralled we had not a kiss to share

My heart-leaped dreams are ever still born,
and my ecstasy beyond ever glee,
but my song can bring tears to troubled youth,
for my words are ‘nether me – grant to thee’.

In love of love itself, I am trapped.
Know what mistreated love cannot behold.
That even so old and ugly I can sing
of nether dreams that are forever told.

Eclectica sneaks in...

Madame Eclectica, always one to steal the spotlight,
muscled her way into the life drawing class.
I hope Baba will cut her some slack.
She does look rather fetching, though.


A bush at Baba's gate ... what does she use for fertalizer?


Baba's Biographer

Baba's Biographer is at the market providing some insight into this fascinating woman. She writes that "The story of Baba Yaga is prime among many images of the Black Goddess. The Black Goddess is at the heart of all creative processes and cannot be so easily viewed. Men and women rarely approach her, except in fear. Women are learning of her through the strength and boldness of elder women who are not afraid to unveil her many faces.Sofia as wisdom lies waiting to be discovered within the Black Goddess who is her mirror image. Knowing that, until we make that important recognition, we are going to have to face the hidden and rejected images of ourselves again and again.

Read about Baba Yaga
and let her be your guide during the coming weeks.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Baba's Life Drawing Class

Baba is modelling for life drawing classes. Consider:
"All that is left of her natural beauty.
Her skin is intact,
Her bones are as they are
No need of paint and powder
She is as she is no more, or less.
How marvellous."
Ikkyu (fifteenth century)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Queen's Invocation

As the Queen arrives she offers an invocation,
in ancient tradition, love and trust.

This is not a translation, but an accumulation
of various invocations from the area of Kazan,
north of the Black Sea, circa 600-1200 AD


nihush -- nihush, ne siman,
seek the whisper 'ner the sign.
be as shadow to empower
focused light and magick reign.

as ye stand before the Light
be as one with soul and mind.
as you shield and focus right
so shall intent be entwined.

know the day will blind the eye
and cast thy heart to shadow.
place your spirit in the shade
and seek new friends tomorrow.

Amazon Queen Arrives at Baba Yaga's

The Amazon Queen has heard that Baba is organising the Advent Calendar this year and has 'all hands on deck'. So she has made haste to be at Baba's and help with the preperations. The Golden Spinning Wheel will be heard whirling late into the night.

The skies above Baba's are full of traffic as travellers make their way to her house to work on the annual Advent Calendar. Going to the House of Baba Yaga will be like attending an artist's convention and Baba is, frankly, excited. She has her Soul Hands working their fingers to the bone to have the place ready for such distinguished visitors.